CABE Space says alternatives to CCTVs will help park safety

CABE Space’s latest policy paper says “soft” alternatives to security cameras will encourage people into parks.

The parks watchdog launched its policy paper “Preventing Antisocial Behaviour in Public Places” at the Green Flag Awards ceremony in Preston. It reports fears that anti-social behaviour is leading to the creation of a “fortified urban environment”. The report says vandalism and graffiti are best tackled by spending on design, maintenance and staffing rather than tough security measures such as cameras and fencing. Community groups estimate 31 per cent of parks suffer from high levels of vandalism. Around £64m is spent annually on vandalised features in parks –11 per cent of the total maintenance budget for parks. A MORI poll has found that 46 per cent of people believe that well designed parks and open spaces deter graffiti, vandalism and anti-social behaviour. One third disagree. Seven out of ten say it’s worth investing money in parks maintenance. Nine out of ten say parks and open spaces improve people’s quality of life. CABE Space director Julia Thrift said: “There is a temptation to believe that CCTV and tough security is the only way to tackle these problems. However, many of the park managers here today would tell you that it is possible to tackle problems like vandalism and graffiti and achieve long-term cost savings by investing above all in staffing, maintenance and good design.” “It’s too easy to make the mistake of putting in heavy-handed security measures that can make places ugly and oppressive. Investing in park keepers is often far more successful.”

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